Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves: Madonna’s words met with Romanian ire

Madonna was booed onstage when she defended some Roma Gypsies.

The touring singer noted some of her dancers and musicians were part of the often despised Gypsy people, and she rushed to their defense saying that no one should be discriminated against.

Romanians felt otherwise.

Access Hollywood reported that during this Romanian concert, Madonna spoke out against the discrimination of Gypsies in Eastern Europe, saying that Gypsies, also known as Roma, were still being discriminated against in the region.

Later she said that made her “sad” because no one should be discriminated against.

Roma Gypsies are believed by academics to hail from India and that the Romani language is one of the Indo-Aryan languages sharing a close tie to Hindi.

According to the books by Barna Mezey, László Pomogyi and István Tauber (Budapest, 1985) entitled A magyarországi cigánykérdés dokumentumokban, 1422-1985 (The Gypsy question in Hungary: Documents, 1422-1985) – Gypsies originally came from northern India and parts of Pakistan.

Their culture was infused with Greek, Persian, and Armenian – and the Mongol invasion of parts of Central Asia prompted their westward migration.

According to these historians, during the fourteenth century some Gypsies reached the Carpathian basin, but most of these groups (kumpanias) continued their move farther west.

It was then that incidents of western countries’ distrust and dislike for the nomadic Gypsies was recorded, and soon enough, according to these historians, the authorities made it impossible for Gypsies to remain.  Accoding to these accounts, Gypsies retreated en masse to medieval Hungary and Romania.

István Tauber’s book claims that the Turkish occupation created a new wave of immigration coming from Eastern Romania, the areas known as Moldavia and Wallachia.  Oláh Gypsies were nomadic and completely unfamiliar with the accepted norms of the Hungarian population around them. Soon enough troubles began, according to the academics. The authors contends that the differences between the Hungarian populace and the nomadic Gypsy “kumpanias” were dramatic, and the relations between the two groups went south.

The scholars cite the neighboring Romanian allegations that Gypsies would often camp close to a village, steal the villagers blind, and then move on.

Gypsies were accused of theft and even killing in Romanian villages, according to these historians.  

The Romanians that Madonna played to apparently knew some of this history, and booed her, 60,000 people reportedly.

Access Hollywood claims that Madonna did not react to the crowd.

The actual number of Roma Gypsies is up for debate, but allegedly they continue to face prejudice and discrimination in Romania and other Eastern European nations, according to varied news reports.

Note the date on this article may be incorrect due to importing it from our old system.